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Neb. troopers make one of the largest fentanyl busts in US

The 118 pounds of opiates seized is enough to kill about 26 million people, officials said


By Kaitlyn Alanis
The Wichita Eagle

BUFFALO COUNTY, Neb. — One of the largest fentanyl busts in the U.S. — and the largest in Nebraska — was confirmed by the Nebraska State Patrol on Thursday.

The 118 pounds of opiates seized was "entirely fentanyl" the department posted to Twitter.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says as little as two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dosage in most people. Using that calculation, the 118 pounds of fentanyl could kill about 26,761,928 people.

Two milligrams is equal to about a few grains of table salt.

Fentanyl is a white powder — similar in size to grains of salt — according to the DEA. A very small amount can cause a severe or potentially fatal reaction not just to users, but also to those who are exposed to it.

The state troopers announced the drug bust on May 1. In the news release, troopers said 117 pounds of narcotics were seized after a traffic stop on I-80, near Kearney, at about 10:30 a.m. on April 26.

The semi was driving near the shoulder, and when stopped, "the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity."

After searching the truck, troopers found a "false compartment" in the empty trailer.

They found "42 foil-wrapped packages containing 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of an unknown powder suspected to be fentanyl."

The troopers did not perform a field test due to "the dangerous nature of the substance." The anesthetic is 30-50 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more deadly than morphine, according to the DEA.

A test at the crime lab confirmed the troopers actually seized 118 pounds of fentanyl, according to the tweet.

The driver of the truck, Felipe Genao-Minaya, 46, and passenger, Nelson Nunez, 52 — both of New Jersey — were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and no Drug Tax stamp.

The men were booked into the Buffalo County Jail. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported earlier this month that the men were being held on a $100,000 bond.

In January, two men were sentenced to prison after they were found with 100 pounds of fentanyl in New Jersey, CNN reported. Authorities said that bust contained about 18 million lethal doses.

©2018 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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